Union confirms strike date to ‘shut down public bus services’ across Northern Ireland

Bus workers represented by Unite and GMB will jointly take the action for a week in late April. Credit: UTV

Bus drivers from two trade unions have voted to take strike action over a pay offer from Translink.

Drivers on the Ulsterbus and Metro services will take industrial action after talks over a pay increase with company management broke down.

The strikes will last from Monday 25 April to Sunday May 1, with a single additional day of strikes planned for Friday May 6.

The unions GMB and Unite had been negotiating a pay rise for bus drivers with Translink management. Workers felt that their standard of living had been falling.

Unite and GMB rejected the latest pay offer from management and members voted in favour of industrial action.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham described drivers as "frontline workers" and called on management to "grasp that there’s a cost of living crisis destroying the value of wages and return with a more acceptable offer."GMB claimed that Translink's current pay offer was below the rate of inflation and therefore amounted to a pay cut.

GMB Metro chairman Eamon McCullough called the offer "derisory" and "an insult to the service" that bus drivers provided throughout the pandemic.Translink said they were "disappointed" by the decision to strike, and believed they had offered a "fair and reasonable" pay offer.

A spokesperson said: "We are disappointed to learn that Unite and GMB Bus Driver Trade Unions have voted to take industrial action.

"Following extensive negotiations, we made a pay offer, including an enhanced package of conditions, that we believe is fair and reasonable.

"We remain committed to working with the unions to avert this action."